This book, perhaps more so than previous titles I have read from these married authors, is a real mixed bag: part dating guide, part travel and large part self-improvement. It is incredibly comprehensive, and the immense amount of work which has gone into creating it is plainly evident. Full of fascinating insight into the lives and cultures of the people of Ukraine, this one really opens your eyes to the dynamic between the sexes. Likewise, the self-improvement, reflection and actualization part of the book is equally eye opening, as John draws on his own previous experiences of marriage, and the findings of his profound research, to share his advice for becoming a better person and a better husband after the union. This is a refreshing approach from this author, and was for me, in fact, the best part of the book. John and Angela could well have a very bright future in marriage guidance counselling, sincerely. Indeed, this book, in my opinion, was at its best when focusing on these parts away from the whole dating advice. Regarding that, the entire objective of How to Marry a Ukrainian Supermodel, is obviously just that, so it is clear what you should expect. Whilst that title has an element of tongue-in-cheek about it, there is perhaps not quite as much as you might think.
Like previous books, I admit to being a little non-plussed by the empirical, calculating approach to dating. I know, of course, there are whole different practicalities around overseas dating which need to be considered, no less than cultural differences and perhaps the most pressing, the costs involved, but talking about finding “love” in terms of “investment”, etc. just didn’t sit right with me. Of all the variables involved, the most influential – that of fickle human feelings – didn’t seem to figure. To me it feels a little bizarre reading about investing and pursuing love. “Marriage”, “relationship” and “romance”, sure, but I’m of the mind that you meet a person, grow to like them, then fall in love; sometimes you marry. Of course, I respect that this is conditioned by my own cultural upbringing, and acknowledge that it is just one model in the world, and may not even be the right one. Additionally, I am not who this undeniably niche book is aimed at; it appears to be relevant more to men who have a wife-shaped hole in their life – those who don’t fit with this Western societal norm (and I say that with no wish to offend or judgement). I don’t know what hole the Ukrainian women are filling, and I wouldn’t presume to guess. Thankfully, Angela brings a real touch of authenticity and candour to the project, and it is pleasing that she is involved, because I believe she inputs great humour and humility to the narrative; the authors’ partnership changes the whole dynamic of the book, and for the better.
Scientific angle aside, there is much more heart and feeling in this book than previous titles – though, I have now been made aware that I have read that I read the books out of order, and this is in fact the first in the series, which might give additional context. Some of the advice about happy marriage is invaluable, and improving generally for your partner is more of a focus (though, in my experience, it is often external factors which put the heaviest pressure on marriage). I really like that about this book, and for me it is its biggest strength. A book which explicitly promotes the practice of marrying with or without the absence of love, I believe, has a duty to incorporate lessons about achieving a stronger marriage – otherwise, it would be similar in nature to a fictional romantic comedy movie, which ends with the protagonists’ wedding. This, of course, as we know, is merely the beginning of the story.
As far as go the literary qualities of the work, they are second to none; John and Angela’s writing is top quality. With their diligent and comprehensive approach to work, I am in no doubt that were you to present them with any reference topic to write about, they would do so with equal zeal and conscientiousness. They are non-fiction writing and research pros, for sure, and this is evidenced by their rapidly growing catalogue. May they become the go-to authorities in their chosen niche subject.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: john-klose angela-klose dating reference travel ukraine marriage self-help